• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

DOE tackles demons ahead of 2020

By Mihle Tolobisa

The 2019 National Senior Certificate results will be released on Wednesday, January 8, 2020. This was announced by Fundile Gade, MEC of the Eastern Cape Department of Education (ECDoE) during a 2020 School Readiness briefing in Zwelitsha last week.

5 224 markers are busy marking papers with the assistance of examination assistants in the form of university students and unemployed graduates. 202 examination officials are managing the 20 marking centres in the province.

Gade also informed that for the very first time, in 2020, Grade 12 learners in the province will be able to write examinations in their mother tongue, whether it is isiXhosa, Afrikaans, English or Sesotho.

This follows calls from various social organisations for children to have the right to express their academic knowledge in a language they know best.

ECDoE Deputy Director-General, Ray Tywakadi and Gade addressed the elephant in the room: violence in schools and alleged neglect of children by teachers during school outings. Tywakadi rejected the notion that the department is solely to blame for such incidents that occur within schools.

“Parents must be involved in raising and teaching their children. They must not leave everything to the teachers. Teachers cannot teach children everything, including discipline. Children are involved in gangsterism, which involves stabbing, they vandalise schools and they carry weapons to school in order to be alert for gangsterism related interactions. Parents need to assist and play their part in disciplining children,” said Tywakadi.

He added that the department is playing its role with the Search and Seizure programme in collaboration with the South African Police Services (SAPS) to fight crime in schools.

Gade jumped in to address the issue of school excursions, citing that they should not be seen as an entertainment opportunity by and for educators.

“These trips should be educational and informative, as they are part of the curriculum. We are currently in discussions with the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality to create by-laws that will ensure that such activities are strictly focussed on learning and development. We seek to ensure that children are not in areas where they will be vulnerable,” he informed.

Relating to the department’s readiness for 2020, more children will benefit from the School Nutrition programme. Some 1,5 million learners from 5064 schools will be fed and an expected 80 000 will now be transported to school.

School infrastructure backlogs have been a major talking point for the province with the end not as clear. The aim is for learners to be placed in safe and proper classrooms. So far, fifty-two replacement schools are part of the 300 on-going construction projects. Infrastructural work has been approved for 262 out of 1 598 schools for the replacement of pit toilets and provision for clean drinking water.

Delivery for school textbooks is standing at 85% and the rest will arrive in early January.

Fifteen transport companies were appointed to collect school furniture from the warehouses where they are being refurbished and made from scratch in Butterworth and Queenstown. 26 000 items out of 250 000 ordered have been delivered to schools across the province.

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